Each weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Martin's defensive value has been key in the Knicks' past two games. On Sunday, he helped hold Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin to 12 points on 6-for-14 shooting. On Monday, Martin's assignment, Al Jefferson, one of the best low-post scorers in the league, only scored 10 points on 4-for-13 from the field.
Martin is a no-nonsense player who goes the extra mile on defense, even bringing rugged toughness at the start of games. Sometimes NBA contests don't get intense until the second half, but Martin doesn't waste any time. He's smart to set an intimidating tone early on. And that extra effort and tenacity from tip-off has helped the short-handed Knicks remain competitive for the most part.
Martin also excels on the offensive glass and running the floor off defensive stops for transition buckets and cleanups. He's a versatile offensive and defensive threat who can give the Knicks early boosts in games. Playing alongside Anthony, Chandler and Raymond Felton, Martin should get plenty of looks around the basket.
Martin is also a guy who can score off of pick-and-rolls with his athleticism, and he can make quick dishes to 3-point shooters upon receiving feeds inside. He's a heads-up playmaker who brings versatility and experience to the court.
With Martin in the starting five, it would allow the Knicks to play a well-balanced lineup -- not too big and not too small. They could play an aggressive style on both ends of the floor, while countering different teams well with whatever starting five they present.
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